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Unlocking Children’s Rights

For children and young people, the decisions made in family court and other judicial proceedings can have a significant, long-term impact on their well-being, development and future outcomes. International standards, and many national laws across Europe, recognise that children and young people have a right to express their views and to have their wishes and feelings reflected in decisions affecting them. This project was initiated out of concern that these rights are far from being realised due in part to a lack of skills and knowledge among professionals and practitioners of how to communicate effectively and sensitively with children, and how to help them participate meaningfully in decisions affecting them.

The project, titled ‘Unlocking Children’s Rights: Strengthening the capacity of professionals in the EU to fulfil the rights of vulnerable children’, involved partners from ten European countries, including Coram Voice and Coram Children’s Legal Centre from the UK, FICE Bulgaria, Czech Helsinki Committee, the University College Cork, Children of Slovakia Foundation, Estonian Centre for Human Rights, European Roma Rights Centre (Hungary), Fondazione L’Albero della Vita (Italy), Empowering Children Foundation (Poland), Social Educational Action (Greece), and FCYA Hungary. The project was co-funded by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme of the European Union. Additional funding has been provided by the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust.

Prior to developing the materials, the partners engaged in a mapping exercise which highlighted the lack of mandatory and optional pre-service and in-service training in child rights and child development for a range of professionals who work with children. Based on this concern, the drafting committee determined that it would be essential to focus on drafting materials that strengthen skills for all practitioners and professionals in these areas, with a focus on communication as a unifying need. The materials have been tested through pilot trainings in the partners’ countries. They have been proven to be very useful for different groups of professionals working with children and young people.

The materials can be used by anyone who is interested and can be downloaded free of charge. Guidance is provided on how to use the different types of materials in the training package.

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